If NRA Executive Director Chris Cox thought he was going to have an easy time Sunday morning when he decided to appear on Fox News, he was sorely mistaken.
Over the course of about 12 minutes, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace took Cox and the National Rifle Association to task for refusing to give an inch on gun safety regulations even after the deadliest mass shooting in American history last weekend in Las Vegas.
They began with the NRA’s unexpected openness to regulating the type of bump stock device used by the shooter to make his semi-automatic weapons mimic fully automatic ones. But within seconds, Cox, echoing President Donald Trump’s “pure evil” comments, was equating those guns with box-cutters on airplanes and cars that drive into crowds. “We don’t believe that bans have ever worked on anything,” he said.
After playing clips of Hillary Clinton calling out the Republicans for being “totally sold” to the gun lobby and Nancy Pelosi expressing her hopes for a “slippery slope” to more gun control, Wallace asked Cox, “I mean, here were 58 people killed, almost 500 injured, is it common decency to wait a day, two days, a week, a month. I mean, it is understandable—I know you don’t agree with their solution but what’s wrong with saying we need to address this?”
Instead of answering the question, Cox took the opportunity to attack Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein along with Hillary Clinton for “hypocrisy” on guns because she employs armed security.
“Is that a sensible way to have this conversation, to try to turn it into class warfare,” Wallace asked Cox, “where if you’re for gun control somehow you’re part of an elite?” When Cox said, it’s not “class warfare,” but rather “what the American people want,” Wallace stopped him in his tracks.
“That’s not actually true,” the host said. “If you talk about background checks, if you talk about automatic weapons—there are a lot of people, in fact a majority of people according to the polls who would like to see those gun controls. I have to say that I’m put off at the argument, if you believe in gun control, you’re an elite.”
Later in the interview, Wallace forced his guest to watch video from the Las Vegas massacre in which you can hear just how quickly the bullets were fired at the defenseless crowd of concert-goers. At first, Cox sipped from his mug and looked entirely unmoved. He gave a little shake of his head perhaps after realizing that his face was still on the screen.
“Why do you need to have a magazine that holds 100 rounds?” Wallace asked.
“There’s no one in America who watches that video who’s not horrified,” Cox said, suggesting that NRA members at the concert were even more “horrified” than others. While he said it’s a “fair question,” Cox insisted that banning a law-abiding citizen from owning high-capacity weapons would not prevent a “criminal” from “misusing” them.
“Why do shooters need, people that hunt, to protect themselves, why do they need magazines with 100 rounds?” Wallace asked. When Cox said that question—and not the weapon itself—was “intentionally designed to scare people,” the host asked, “You don’t think 10 rounds would be enough?”
“It depends on what you have it for,” Cox answered. “People can own things safely and responsibly and be a danger to no one,” he added, before laying blame on “the violent culture coming out of Hollywood” and video games.
Perhaps some people can own dozens of high-capacity semi-automatic rifles safely, but the gunman in Las Vegas clearly wasn’t one of them. And there was nothing FBI background checks or law enforcement could have done to stop him from killing nearly 60 innocent people and wounding hundreds of others.